Oregon City rides lock-down 'D' to 48-29 playoff win over South Eugene
Oregon City's boys have some more basketball to play.
Andre Best and Erich Nova scored 13 points each and helped anchor an impressive Oregon City stand at the defensive end of the court, leading the Pioneers to a 48-29 home win over South Eugene in Friday's second round of the OSAA Class 6A boys' basketball playoffs.
Dalton Welch came off the Oregon City bench with 10 points -- all in the second half -- to help send the No. 8 Pioneers (18-7) into Wednesday's 1:30 p.m. quarterfinal at the Chiles Center against top-ranked Lake Oswego (22-4), a 56-54 winner Friday over Westview.
"It's amazing," said Welch, the junior shooting guard. "It's great to feel this intensity and all the energy in the gym is awesome.
"It's unbelievable to think about all the hard work that we've put into this. This is what we play for, right here. There are only eight teams left and we're lucky to be one of them."
This marks the first time Oregon City has been to the quarterfinals since the 2009-10 season.
"I'm ready," said Best, the junior point guard. "I didn't want the season to end today. I'm looking forward to Wednesday and playing in the Chiles Center. It's a great accomplishment for this team and I'm so excited for us."
South Eugene (18-8) had a significant size advantage with a starting five listed at 6-foot-8, 6-5, 6-4, 6-4, and 5-10, but Oregon City had the edge in quickness, defensive tenacity, and a patient, ball-control offense that frequently took about a minute off the clock per possession.
Tied at 15-15 at halftime, Oregon City went on a 12-4 run in the third quarter that started with a Corban Remsburg basket and ended with Welch scoring on a transition lay-up off a South Eugene turnover to give the Pioneers a 27-19 lead.
Welch hit another pull-up jumper from the left baseline to open the fourth quarter and then buried a 3-pointer from the right corner that pushed the lead to 32-19 with 6:32 remaining.
"Things just all kind of fell into place," Welch said. "Different people have to step up in different games and tonight just happened to be my time. All all the other guys, too, they played great."
South Eugene's Sam Harris hit an off-balance runner in the lane that cut Oregon City's lead to 34-23, but the Pioneers outscored the Axe 14-6 over the final 2:46 to seal the decision.
"I think we just totally got outplayed today," South Eugene coach Dave Hancock said. "Maybe not for the whole game, but for at least the second half.
"I think Oregon City's overall strength and quickness really exploited the areas where we're weak. We couldn't penetrate and we couldn't get a shot off. … I don't think that they shot a whole lot better than us, but they had a lot more opportunities than us."
The Pioneers shot 38.6 percent (17 for 44) from the field, 28.6 percent (6 for 21) from 3-point range, and 72.7 percent from the free-throw line.
Harris finished with a team-high nine points for South Eugene, which shot 35.5 percent (11 for 31) from the field, 12.5 percent (1 for 8) from beyond the arc, and made all six free throws.
"The game plan was to just lock them up on defense -- no easy shots and nothing from 3-point range," Welch said. "We thought if we could just lock 'em down, that would make it easier, and that's what happened."
Oregon City also had the advantage of two days rest between Tuesday's 44-39 win over Gresham to open the playoffs, while South Eugene's playoff opener against McNary got rescheduled from Tuesday to Thursday, forcing the Axe to make a quick turnaround Friday.
"The game was there for either team at halftime," Hancock said. "Oregon City came out the second half and stepped it up defensively and picked the speed of the game up and we didn't match it. I felt they broke us down physically, mentally, and emotionally."
Was the quick turnaround a factor?
"I'm sure it was," Hancock said. "I think it would have been nice to play this game Saturday or Monday. Not to make any excuses, and take nothing away from them, but we've been battling bouts with the flu and had no practices since a week ago Thursday before we played McNary.
"That's not an excuse. We're not using that. I mean, the bottom line is they just outplayed us and beat us."
SOUTH EUGENE 8 7 4 10 -- 29
OREGON CITY 5 10 12 21 -- 48
South Eugene (29) -- Sam Harris 9, Paul 8, Clark 6, McAninch 2, James 2, Boettcher 2, Edwards, Berryman.
Oregon City (48) -- Andre Best 13, Erich Nova 13, Welch 10, Remsburg 4, Gettel 3, Talley 2, Erhardt 3, Bergren, Hanson.